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[222] behind him. He went quietly over to Germany to write more Lyrical Ballads, and to begin a poem on the growth of his own mind, at a time when there were only two men in the world (himself and Coleridge) who were aware that he had one, or at least one anywise differing from those mechanically uniform ones which are stuck drearily, side by side, in the great pin-paper of society.

In Germany Wordsworth dined in company with Klopstock, and after dinner they had a conversation, of which Wordsworth took notes. The respectable old poet, who was passing the evening of his days by the chimney-corner, Darby and Joan like, with his respectable Muse, seems to have been rather bewildered by the apparition of a living genius. The record is of value now chiefly for the insight it gives us into Wordsworth's mind. Among other things he said, ‘that it was the province of a great poet to raise people up to his own level, not to descend to theirs,’—memorable words, the more memorable that a literary life of sixty years was in keeping with them.

It would be instructive to know what were Wordsworth's studies during his winter in Goslar. De Quincey's statement is mere conjecture. It may be guessed fairly enough that he would seek an entrance to the German language by the easy path of the ballad, a course likely to confirm him in his theories as to the language of poetry. The Spinosism with which he has been not unjustly charged was certainly not due to any German influence, for it appears unmistakably in the ‘Lines composed at Tintern Abbey’ in July, 1798. It is more likely to have been derived from his talks with Coleridge in 1797.1 When Emerson visited him in 1833,

1 A very improbable story of Coleridge's in the Biographia Literania represents the two friends as having incurred a suspicion of treasonable dealings with the French enemy by their constant references to a certain ‘Spy Nosey.’ The story at least seems to show how they pronounced the name, which was exactly in accordance with the usage of the last generation in New England.

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